Advertising Done Right

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I found some commercials that I think have the right ingredients of really great advertising. If you’ve read the book “Made to Stick – Why Some Ideas Survive and Others Die” by Dan and Chip Heath, you’ll notice that the following commercials have many of the characteristics that make them “sticky”.

A little info on these commercials: They are part of a campaign to promote life insurance policies by “Thai Insurance”, one of the big Thai insurance companies. They are in Thai, but somebody has taken the time to add English subtitles to them. You’ll have to pardon the translation as it’s a little rough sometimes, but it gets the meaning and message across.

Apart from the fact that they are all really well done, I like the narrative style and the visual style. I don’t know if the impact of the message is lost in translation, but as a Thai, I was certainly moved by all of them. But let’s get back to what Chip and Dan think are elements of great ideas and how we see them in these commercials.

  1. Simplicity – each of the commercials is trying to convey one idea, not try to throw 10 things at you hoping one of them sticks
  2. Unexpected – I would say the last commercial was definitely unexpected
  3. Concrete – each of the 3 stories is a concrete idea that can be grasped, not some abstract thought or generalization
  4. Credibility – although I certainly wouldn’t want any of these to happen to me or anyone I know, we know it COULD happen.
  5. Emotional – ditto
  6. Stories – each one of these is a single story that can be easily told – hence transported

I hope that gives you some ideas on how to make your message “sticky”.

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“Buzzmarketing” Book Review

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I’m an engineer and web developer by trade so I don’t know why I’ve been reading so many marketing books lately. I just am so leave me alone. I have to say this was one of the better marketing books. I literally blew through this 256 page book in 1 day over vacation. It was a fast read and I thoroughly enjoyed it. I’m a pragmatic guy, and I like books that are filled with actionable advice. Highly opinionated books that spout highfalutin theories and concepts don’t go well with me.

“Buzzmarketing: Get People to Talk About Your Stuff” By Mark Hughes is a quick dive into how some well known brands (and some not so well known ones) used word of mouth to create successful campaigns and gain market share. The premise of the book is that traditional marketing methods yield traditional and average results. Word of mouth can be 10 times more effective than TV or print. is given lots of coverage. In case you missed the hoopla that was the Internet bubble, got the town of Halfway Oregon to rename their town to for a year in exchange for about $100,000 worth of economic funds, computers, and website development. For that they got major media coverage from the likes of Good Morning America, USA Today, Wall Street Journal, Associated Press, South China News, radio and TV stations. The buzz associated with that PR stunt resulted in 8 million users in 3 years as well as the eBay buyout for $300 million within 6 months.
Other equally exciting stories include Miller Lite, American Idol, and Apple.

I don’t want to give away too much of the book, but to summarize: you need to press the 6 Buttons that Start Conversations:

  • Taboo
  • Unusual
  • Outrageous
  • Hilarious
  • Remarkable
  • Secret

One good point he makes is that you should create content, not ads. People on the web already know this. People go to blogs for good content, not for the ads. 6 times as many people read articles over ads – the point should be obvious by now. This is such a short book, to give away anymore would be a disservice to the author. You should just go get it on Amazon. Better yet – get it at

If you like this sort of book, I would also recommend these other books I’ve read:

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